Oh, how many times have I said that? But I can…believing that I still need to do more, do better, improve.
Until we get to the point of realizing we can do NOTHING apart from God we will keep running the treadmill of self. … for apart from me you can do nothing. John 15:5
Apart from Christ we can do nothing. That is difficult to understand in our flesh. We want to think there is still something we can contribute. We want to try something different or try harder but in truth that only requires our own strength. In the end that which is of the flesh is death. Romans 8:6
Paul put it this way, Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith— Philippians 3:8-9 (underlining mine).
Every plan, every effort, every pursuit that is not based on walking by faith in Jesus Christ is merely based on our own strength, our own thinking, our own flesh. Let’s face it – our culture applauds self-effort, self-sufficient, self-motivated independence. It is the environment we have lived life, so to come to the end of self and truly believe ‘I can’t’ is counter-intuitive. It exudes weakness, the very thing our culture despises.
Yet, weakness is the very truth we need to embrace. For it is only as we stop believing I can and acknowledge our weakness that we will LOOK TO THE ONLY ONE THAT TRULY CAN. It’s not about doing but, believing and walking by faith in those beliefs.
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 2 Corinthians 12:9
Paul admonished the Galatians, “Let me ask you only this: Did you receive the Spirit by works of the law or by hearing with faith? Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh?…Does he who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you do so by works of the law, or by hearing with faith— (3:2-3,5)
Our salvation was freely given to us by God, we did NOTHING to earn it or deserve it. We were saved by an act of God, nothing we did. Even our prayer or cry out in faith was something He did in us and through us, we can’t even take credit for that.
So I repeat Paul’s question: Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh?
Does this mean we become Christian couch potatoes?[i] No, not at all. But knowing that Christ lives in us, by faith we walk in a manner worthy of the gospel. In our weakness, we yield to the Christ-life in us and allow Him to be our source of strength living His life through us.
I will close with one of my many favorite verses:
I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. Galatians 2:20
Rejoicing in Christ,
[i] Christian couch potatoes– by the way is an oxymoron
Written by Diane Hunt: Diane Hunt serves on the board of America’s Keswick and is the Executive Director & CEO of Changed Choices, a Christian non-profit in North Carolina. She is also a biblical counselor and women’s event speaker. For more information about having Diane speak at your next event please contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Think About This: “The covenant being made with Adam as a public person, not for himself only, but for all his posterity, all mankind descending from him by ordinary generation, sinned in him, and fell with him, in that first transgression.” — Westminster Larger Catechism 22